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Dheeraj in a still from ‘Double Tuckerr’
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Dheeraj has just finished a bypass surgery when we call him. “The patient is fine,” he tells me cheerily.

The 42-year-old popular cardiovascular surgeon has a busy week: apart from attending to his patients, he is also completing last-minute formalities for the release of his upcoming Tamil film that hits screens on April 5.

Titled Double Tuckerr, the film features Dr Dheeraj Reddy in the lead role, along with two angels, named ‘left’ and ‘right’, brought to the big screen thanks to animation. Directed by Meera Mahadhi and also starring actors like Smruthi Venkat, Kovai Sarala and MS Baskar, it promises to be a fun-filled tale about life after death. “After all, laughter is the best medicine,” says Dheeraj.

Dheeraj in ‘Double Tuckerr’

Dheeraj in ‘Double Tuckerr’

The journey of Double Tuckerr started with a narration that was supposed to be for five minutes, but ended up lasting an hour. “Throughout the narration, I just couldn’t control my laughter,” he recalls. The initial storyline featured Yama and Chitragupta, with the idea of casting Yogi Babu and Munishkanth, but that was vetoed as Yogi Babu had already done a character on similar lines in another project. That was when the concept of angels popped up. At each step, I kept asking the question: why should people watch this film? This helped fine-tune the storyline. Children are our target audience.”

Music director Vidyasagar’s tunes will be a big asset for Double Tuckerr, says Dheeraj. “I know him personally, and even before assembling this project, I used to tell him that he would be its composer. He has created magic with the music and background score.”

Although Dheeraj always wanted to be a doctor, he also secretly nursed a passion for acting. “My mother was clear that I should become a doctor,” he revealed. But after that goal was achieved – he studied for 11 years to complete his medical education, which included an MBBS, MS and MCH – Dheeraj considered his other passion, acting. A few short films followed, one of which was a feel-good film titled Dheergayushmman Bhava. But it was his role in 2019’s Bodhai Yeri Buddhi Maari that opened the floodgates for Dheeraj. “I kept thinking that people’s reaction would be, ‘Why should a doctor be attempting this?’ But I was pleasantly surprised to hear several positive comments about my performance.” It egged him on to balance both his pursuits, and has resulted in Double Tuckerr, releasing this week. “I want to register myself as an actor who can perform any character on screen,” he says, “I hope to do this till the time I can balance my medical profession and cinema.”

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